Russian Doll Premiere Recap: Let's Do the Time Warp Again (Plus, Grade It!)

Russian Doll Season 2 Premiere Nadia

Russian Doll is back — and yes, Nadia is still, in her words, a “time prisoner.”

Wednesday’s Season 2 premiere kicks off with an old woman hammering a hole in the wall of a sewer and retrieving a bag (huh?) before catching us up with Nadia. She’s approaching her 40th birthday; she’s playing caretaker to her godmother Ruth, who’s had a host of health problems; and she’s trying, and failing, to quit smoking. (“I am keenly aware that my lungs are essentially two shriveled up Nick Caves,” she quips to her pal Maxine.) When she boards the subway, though, she sees posters for Cats and Sophie’s Choice. She grabs a Village Voice and checks the date. Yep, she’s somehow traveled back to 1982. She can’t find her cell phone, but she does have a matchbook for a bar called the Black Gumball with the name “Chez” written in it.

Russian Doll Season 2 Premiere Chez NadiaNadia heads to the bar and downs a bourbon while making friends with a guy named Danny who sells Betamax machines at Crazy Eddie’s. Just then, a strange guy enters the bar and nuzzles right up to Nadia, telling her, “Let’s go, babe.” She learns the guy is Chez, and when he offers her black beauties and Quaaludes, she gets right onboard, with Chez pulling her in for a big kiss. They walk to an apartment, and Chez finds the keys to it in Nadia’s pocket, going inside and finding a leather bag under a couch before hightailing it out of there. They go back to his place, where Chez snorts a line of coke and rambles about how they’re finally taking control of their lives. Nadia excuses herself to the bathroom, and when she looks in the mirror, she sees… her own mother Nora looking back at her. What’s more, she’s pregnant with Nadia! In the words of Keanu Reeves: “Whoa.”

Russian Doll Season 2 AlanShe runs out of the apartment and back down to the subway, asking a fellow rider: “Is it 2022 in here?” It is, and she’s back to being Nadia again. She shares the horrible news with her time-loop buddy Alan: “The universe finally found something worse than death: being my mother.” He hasn’t had the same experience yet, though, and he’s running out to go on another disappointing date his mother set up for him. So Nadia decides to check in on Ruth and see if she knows more about this Chez fella. Ruth remembers him as an “outstanding prick” who was around when Nadia’s mom lost all the family money. Nadia goes back to the subway, and so does Alan — and when he does, the writing inside the car is all in German. Hmmm.

Back in 1982, Nadia gets to Chez’s and looks inside the leather bag, finding a stash of gold Krugerrands. She asks Chez where he got them, and he’s confused. He reminds her they took them together. She plays along and cuddles him in bed a bit before excusing herself to the bathroom again, giving herself a pep talk to get the money back. But then she hears a door slam. When she comes out, she sees Chez has run off with the bag of gold. She chases him down the street, but a pregnant lady can only run so far, you know? It’s looking like “outstanding prick” may have been an understatement.

Give the Russian Doll premiere a grade in our poll, and then hit the comments to share your thoughts on Season 2 so far. (No post-premiere spoilers, though, please.)

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